For a lot of people, at-home workouts are the most convenient and cost-effective, least intimidating option. And that’s great. There are plenty of ways to get a effective + efficient workout in at home even without any equipment.

The purpose of this post is to help you simplify how to get started with at-home workouts. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by not being sure what to do, or if we’re doing it correctly, or how much to do it. The sheer number of possibilities is enough to drive us to inaction.

So instead, how about simplifying your approach:

How much should I do?

If you are new to working out or are returning from a hiatus, ease into it. Trying to do too much, too soon, is often short-lived. Instead of trying to run yourself into the ground on days 1-3 and then being too sore to get off the couch days 4-7, only to repeat again the following week, start small. Doing something is always better than doing nothing.

What exercises should I do?

Stick with basic exercises. I know there tons of fancy variations out there and you see a YouTube video and start wondering if you should start doing Spiderman Knee Tuck T Push-Ups with a Clap (not sure if that’s a real thing. Probably. But don’t try it).

The basics are the basics for a reason. Basic = foundational. Foundation = the basis upon which everything else is built. These are the movement patterns upon which almost all exercises are built upon. So don’t underestimate them; master them before you start looking for more challenging variations.

What do you mean by basics?

(Click links for exercise demos)

Upper Body moves like:

Push-ups

Dips

Rows

Presses

 

Lower Body moves like:

Squats

Lunges

Hip Thrusts

Core moves like:

Planks (note on this video – try to keep your head a bit more aligned with the rest of your spine than I am in the video. Videos are a great way to form check yourself!)

Sit-ups

Leg Raises

Russian Twists

Focusing on these exercises alone gives you hundreds of options for workouts with little to no equipment. Even within these exercises, there are plenty of simple variations to keep you interested. For example: Stationary Lunges, Alternating Lunges, Reverse Lunges, Walking Lunges, etc.

First, decide on your exercises from the list above.

Then, get as creative as you want for the format of the workout. You’re still getting a chance to practice the basic moves + you’re staying engaged because the workout isn’t the same day after day.

What do you mean by “get creative with the format”?

There are a handful of variables you can use to change the format of a workout:

Number of reps you do (reps are how many times you do a certain thing, i.e. 10 push-ups)

Number of sets you do (sets are how many times you perform reps, i.e. 3 rounds of 10 push-ups)

How long you work

How heavy a weight you use (when applicable, we won’t be discussing this today)

There are an infinite number of ways to combine the variables above to make a new-feeling workout out of the fundamental exercises.

Here are some examples of my favorite:

Timed Intervals – You decide for how long you are going to do the exercise, how long you are going to rest afterward, and how many times you will repeat. Common intervals are:

+20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest, 8 rounds (commonly called a Tabata interval)

+30 seconds of work, 30 seconds of rest, 5 rounds

+40 seconds of work, 20 seconds of rest, 4 rounds

+1 minute of work, 1 minute of rest, 3 rounds

Standard Sets + Reps – Pick a certain number of reps (commonly 5, 8, 10, 12, 15) and a certain number of sets (commonly 2-5) and use those for each exercise. You can either do all your sets of one exercise before moving on to the next or do one set of each exercise before repeating from the top (called a circuit). Example:

3 sets of 10 reps of:

Push-ups

Squats

Sit-Ups

As Many Rounds As Possible (AMRAP) – Decide how long you want to be moving. Decide how many reps you want to do of each exercise. Move through the exercises as quickly as you are able (with good form) until you run out of time. Example:

AMRAP 15minutes

20 Squats

15 Sit-Ups

10 Push-Ups

You’ll move through these three moves as quickly as possible, trying to get through as many rounds as possible in 15 minutes.

Every Minute on the Minute (EMOM) – Decide on a set number of reps of each exercise. These should be relatively low reps that you’ll be able to complete in ~30 seconds (this takes some trial and error). At the beginning of each minute, complete the reps as quickly as possible and take the remainder of the minute as rest. At the top of the next minute, either repeat with the same exercise or cycle through to another move. Example:

EMOM for 10mins:

Min 1: 10 Squats

Min 2: 5 Push-Ups

At the beginning of the first minute, you’ll do your 10 squats. Rest for however much time is left in the minute. When the clock ticks over to the next minute, you start your 5 push-ups. Rest for however much time is left in the minute. Continue alternating this way for 10 minutes (so 5 sets of each)

Descending Ladders – You’ll follow a rep scheme where you start with the largest number of reps and each set you’ll do fewer reps. Try to complete the rounds as quickly as possible. Example:

10-8-6-4-2

Lunges (per leg)

Bench Dips

Leg Raises

First round: 10reps of each, then 8reps of each, then 6reps, etc.

Ascending Ladders – Basically the opposite of above: start with the fewest reps, increase with each round. Example:

1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10

Lunges (per leg)

Bench Dips

Leg Raises

You can even use the example workouts above as actual workouts to help get you started.

What About Equipment?

As I mentioned, there are tons of things you can do with just your bodyweight. If you are interested in purchasing some at-home equipment, these would be my suggestions (links are just for visual reference):

Mini-bands

-2 sets of dumbbells (lighter for upper body, heavier for lower body)

-1 kettlebell (moderate weight)

TRX Resistance Bands

Step or bench

Got more questions? Head over to the Facebook group + ask away!